I get asked this question a lot, sometimes from people who have had a dramatic improvement in their health from avoiding gluten, sometimes from clients who don’t want to change their diet when I suggest that gluten might be a problem for them and sometimes from friends who are annoyed with all the people needing “special diets”. I’m sure there are always some people who get on the latest syndrome bandwagon; people are often susceptible to suggestion. But I think that what’s going on is much more than the latest medical fad.
In my practice I’ve seen gluten involved dramatically in autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus, other less common immune dysfunctions and, of course, celiac disease. Getting off gluten has relieved many symptoms of these diseases in every case I’ve treated. But I’ve also seen a host of other symptoms improve dramatically from eliminating gluten such as digestive issues like IBS and leaky gut to achy joints, fibromyalgia and general fatigue and stiffness. Not everyone needs to avoid gluten but I have been convinced that gluten is causing more and more problems for people.
So what is going on? In celiac disease it’s definitely a gluten problem and maybe in the autoimmune diseases as well but maybe it’s something else particular to wheat since that is the major source of gluten in the American diet. I’ve thought it might be new variants of wheat produced by either GMO or traditional hybridization methods. Or maybe it is that there is more wheat in our diets in the form of white flour in fast food, bakery items and processed food generally. But then a friend sent me a link to an article that I believe explains what is happening. I hope you’re ready? This is not going to make you happy.
The standard process in the harvesting of wheat in the United States is to spray the wheat with Roundup, or another herbicide whose active ingredient is glyphosate, approximately 3-7 days before harvest. Now GMO corn and soy are routinely sprayed with Roundup, but because the GMO plants are resistant to Roundup it doesn’t actually get into the plant. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t residual Roundup ON the plant. However, the wheat is not resistant and so actually takes up the chemical, stores it preferentially in the seed and starts to die. Barley is also being treated in exactly the same way as wheat in this country.
So why would farmer’s do this? Well when plants start to die, they produce more seeds and ripen those seeds faster. This desiccation process allows for earlier, easier and bigger harvests.
The following article, The Real Reason Wheat is Toxic, explains more in detail and has links to studies and epidemiologic data that is very convincing. We are not imagining there is a problem but we’ve been looking for the solution in the wrong place. There is a very strong correlation between the increase in the use of “desiccation” in harvesting wheat and the prevalence of gluten (or at least wheat) sensitivity.
Disclaimer: This blog is not intended to be a substitute for personal, professional, medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.